My Guide To Amsterdam

amsterdam travel guide

From charming canals to the Red Light District…

Although I lived most of my life in Europe, 10 of them in London, I’ve never been to Amsterdam. It’s one of those places EVERYONE heads to at some point but somehow it was not on my radar. A few weeks ago I was invited on a press trip through work with a cosmetics brand called Rituals (make sure to check out the June issue of Emirates Woman) and after powering through a 7-hour flight we finally touched down in the land of canals, overwhelming amount of bicycles and the famous Red Light District.

Let me warn you, if you expect explicit content about weed smoking, clubbing and attending sex shows than this post is not for you. I’m not much of a party girl and my herbal remedy days were left behind at university. I was more drawn to the beautiful little streets, spotting many locals drinking wine on their boats and the art scene. Of course I did walk through the Red Light District, you have to, but seeing girls in barely nothing looking for their next client through a window was depressing. As I’ve said before I don’t know their stories, maybe some are doing it out of choice, and perhaps its safer than wondering some dark street late at night waiting for a car to pull over. The museum of prostitution looked horrendous and after a bouncer shouting ‘it’s pussy time’ outside one of the many live sex show venues, I was pretty much ready to head back to the hotel.

The Red Light District is one of the main attractions, and yes you can buy weed pretty much everywhere, but I like Amsterdam because of the youthful vibe, beautiful buildings and greenery (but that goes for anywhere that’s not surrounded by the desert).

Pultizer Hotel
– Amazing central location and just down the road from Anne Frank’s House. The interior is vast with a modern courtyard and the rooms are comfortable and well equipped. You can really tell that it’s one of the trendiest hotels in town and they get brownie points for delicious breakfasts.

Anne Frank’s House
– I didn’t have time to wait to buy a ticket but being outside of it was very moving. Book ahead and skip the line!

Rijksmuseum – Dedicated to arts and history of Amsterdam, the building is truly impressive and has beautiful surrounding gardens.
Red Light District – Whether you’re into the action or not, you do need to visit the most popular site (even if it’s just to awkwardly shuffle past a window of practically naked girls). From what I heard, sex shows can be incredibly creepy with the participants intensely staring at the crowd of viewers, but once you pick up a joint from one of the ‘coffee houses’ or stop by Smokey’s, you should be mellow enough to not feel too uncomfortable.

– Great deli for on the go and can be found throughout the city.

Jansz – Part of the Pulitzer hotel, great food and buzzing atmosphere.
Pluk – I spotted this place on Instagram and had to stop by for a fresh juice and healthy chocolate snacks.

Kalverstraat – For all the high-street finds and unnatural number of H&M’s.

P.C Hooftstraat – For designer browsing.
Skins – For cult beauty.
Van Ravenstein – For cool designer labels.


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